Information on the Pilsen European Capital of Culture 2015 project

Pilsen is inviting you to enjoy over 600 events in 2015. Theatre, concerts, exhibitions, public space happenings, artistic interventions. But there is one important thing here: as people say, "there is more to culture". 

The European Capital of Culture project is more than a festival, more than a presentation of artists, more than a one-off revival of the city, more than an advertising space for sponsors. It is a project which has the power to change how Pilsen is perceived and how the role of culture is perceived, and to become a milestone in the evolution of the city.

Where does Pilsen 2015 call home?

Meeting Point

Since September 2014, Meeting Point has been the place to meet in the Small Pilsen Paradise. The temporary structure on Republic Square is a new point on the map of Pilsen, where the paths of visitors to Pilsen, guests of the project, artists, journalists and Pilseners intersect. It serves as a source of information about the project, a place to buy tickets, promotional items and refreshments and a room for press conferences, debates, exhibitions and smaller musical performances. It also houses a studio for the broadcasting of Český rozhlas (Czech Radio). Tourists from abroad have the opportunity to taste delicacies from the Pilsen Region here, whilst domestic visitors can taste a bit of Europe. In addition, the Meeting Point roof terrace offers an unconventional view of one of the largest squares in the Czech Republic. As Pilsen 2015 is committed to opening Meeting Point to absolutely everyone, the place has been designed with wheelchair accessibility in mind.

Peklo Culture House

Peklo Culture House is a complex of three notable, mutually interlinked buildings in Pobřežní Street. Its eastern section is formed by the Villa of Emilian Fischer whilst the western section houses meeting rooms, lecture rooms and halls. The middle part is the interconnecting section. The construction of the house was carried out in 1905–1907 under the management of architects Hůla and Auster.

You can go out to Peklo to enjoy lectures, seminars or courses as well as theatre. The heritage-listed great hall is used primarily as a venue for larger cultural events. In 2014, Cafe & bar Nebe, featuring donated antique furniture, opened in Peklo Culture House. The ground floor houses the Patton Memorial Pilsen – a memorial to the U.S. Army which was ceremonially opened on 5 May 2005 to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Pilsen and South West Bohemia. The museum includes more than 1,000 exhibits from private collections. Part of the building also serves as offices and as facilities for Pilsen 2015.

And why Peklo, i.e. Hell? Ages ago, this was how a housing development on the bank of the Mže River, in today’s Pobřežní Street, was dubbed. It consisted mainly of houses of craftsmen and, because they were situated closer down by the water, one couldn’t see them when looking from the city. The only thing that could be spotted was smoke rising from their chimneys to the sky. The scenery therefore created the impression that the smoke was rising from some kind of a pit in the ground – from hell.

wo–co husovka

Creative people do not create alone; often they work in collaboration. For this reason, in May 2014 Pilsen 2015 opened a shared working space as a place to meet. Coworking wo–co husovka is a place for work, workshops, discussions, meetings, connecting with people from other domains, or refreshments at the community bar. Wo–co hosts events open to the public as well as work events for wo–co members.

The wo–co monthly membership fee includes access to the rooms and the opportunity to hold one’s own workshop or lecture. Common dinners combined with consultations about participants’ projects represent another occasion to find ideas and people to collaborate with.

Wo–co husovka is a place for getting together and supporting inspiring, creative ideas which have the potential to be translated into business. The temporary headquarters are housed in the former gymnasium on Husovo Square until the gates of the cultural factory on the premises of the former DEPO and the first creative incubator in the Czech Republic open.

DEPO 2015 – creative zone

The end of August 2014 saw the last buses, trolleybuses and trams leave the gates of the premises of the Pilsen City Transport Company on Cukrovarská Street. The hall for heavy equipment repairs and the bus garage began to be adapted for a new purpose, as they are to become a prototype of a creative centre operation. A combination of cultural events, exhibitions, the possibility of using a shared workspace to pursue one’s own activity, the running of workshops for the public as well as for creative entrepreneurs, artists’ studios, pop-up shops and refreshment stalls, and art in public space – these are the pieces of the jigsaw which will in effect materialise the idea of a new functional model for this factory which had ceased being able to fulfil its original purpose.

A bit unexpectedly, a bit hastily, but still with determination and full-blown zeal, Pilsen 2015 is developing the background facilities for the programme and the audience for 2015 and beyond here, with a vision into the future. The DEPO 2015 creative zone will house projects which are to remain after 2015, such as the artist residencies programme OPEN A.i.R., the Everfund portal, the coworking centre Wo–co and a creative incubator. DEPO 2015 is an interim solution for the project, considering the unclear future of the Světovar project at the time of the publishing deadline for this book.

In 2015, DEPO 2015 will come alive with the Domus exhibitions, where cutting-edge designers will meet, and two instalments of the Pilsen Family Photo Album presenting Pilsen from the perspective of home photos. Čestmír Suška will introduce his Rusty Flowers at the reSTART exhibition and artists from Sladovna (Malt House) in Písek will invite you into their Time Machine so that you can experience the History of Europe. Apart from this, DEPO will be the home for presentations of diverse European cultures during the Departures series as well as a place for the day-to-day work of creative people, who will find the facilities here to implement their ideas and projects and be able to make their dreams come true. And of course, there will be no lack of exquisite food and drink to satisfy your taste buds!

The excellent accessibility from the centre of Pilsen, whereby the site is reachable by walking along the Radbuza River or by public transport – getting off at the Zimní stadion (Ice Hockey Arena) stop – and its close vicinity to Pap–rna will make DEPO 2015 a place hard to avoid in 2015.

The programme of Pilsen 2015 will also be available at the New Theatre, the Gallery of the City of Pilsen, Jiří Trnka Gallery, West Bohemian Gallery, West Bohemian Museum and its branches, Pap–rna, Moving Station – South Suburbs, Plzeň zastávka (Pilsen Stop), Techmania, the premises of the Pilsner Urquell Brewery, in Pilsen’s public spaces, in Adolf Loos’ interiors, at music clubs in Pilsen, in the Pilsen Region and at dozens of other spots that you will learn about in this book.

The New Theatre

The new building of the Josef Kajetán Tyl Theatre on Jízdecká Street was under construction for two years as part of the Pilsen – European Capital of Culture 2015 project. On the occasion of its festive opening, the Minister of Culture Daniel Herman said: "When we open new theatres, it is a sign that times are good. Considering that an environment and zone of destruction is not that far from us geographically, we have to appreciate this." Pilseners have always cherished their theatre – the J. K. Tyl Theatre boasts the greatest number of season ticket holders of all theatres across the Czech Republic. Thanks to the New Theatre, interest in the dramatic arts will now expand beyond the boundaries of the city and the region and will reach even foreign visitors.

Nečtiny Chapel

After sixteen years of continuous activity by the Kaple Studio (Chapel Studio) under the leadership of Prof. Ctibor Turba, the St. Anna Chapel in Nečtiny has become not just a cultural institution but also an iconic venue which has seen performances by the most illustrious legends of European pantomime and physical theatre. Due to a lack of financial means, the Kaple Studio had firstly reduced and subsequently ceased its work several years ago. This rare regional cultural venue is now returning to life thanks to the activities of the Baroko v Čechách (Baroque in Bohemia) association. The chapel, along with its hospital, once again serves up culture and arts and is used for Pilsen 2015 workshops as well as for the residential stays of artists, events for the public and the 9 Weeks of Baroque festival. The Nečtiny Chapel thus became the first official residential space of Pilsen 2015 in the Pilsen Region. Currently, the St. Anna Chapel is undergoing preparations for a major renovation which is expected to turn this legendary site into a venue open year-round.